Building a Virtual Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery

This is where I work:
Well, kind of. This is a virtual rendering that I made of where I work-the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. As the CFG summer intern, I’m in the midst of building a virtual model of the gallery. I’m using Google Sketchup 8, which I taught myself just for this project (thank goodness for online tutorials!). In the building process, I’ve measured every surface of the gallery; calculated heights, transparencies, and angles; figured out methods for making complicated curves; learned how to make furniture and digital artwork, and all sorts of things. It’s a lot of math, and a lot of testing the limits of the program, and then a lot of testing my own creative and technological abilities.

So why put in all this work into a computerized space? Hopefully the virtual rendering will allow curators, the exhibitions coordinator, and the preparator (who executes the layout of the show) to work together even when in different parts of the country and to simplify design and in turn execution regarding the following:

We have 6 moveable walls, which get moved by the equivalent of a giant leafblower called an airsled. Now show layouts can be planned from afar, plus people planning shows here who don’t have access to the space (such as a curator who lives far away) can see the design of the space, including vents and the tile. I’ve done a freehand replication of the People’s Biennial layout.

Outlets and Screening Apparatus
A lot of artists do work involving electricity. From tvs or projectors, to speakers, to a giant mechanical bull, to a light box under a python skin covered ostrich, if you don’t plan piece locations based on power sources, the force will not be with you. Plus, we have a bunch of tvs/projectors that we use to screen things, so this way, people can see what we have available, like the Panasonic currently in the lounge.

Imagine a sticker larger than you are. Now imagine trying to figure out exactly where that will look best on a wall, using a bunch of levels and tape measures and all sorts of things. Now imagine if you could go ahead and see what would look best on a computer, and then execute it without needing to play “let’s see what looks pretty.” This screen shot from behind my desk features the Possible Cities wall text vinyl from last year.

And of course, you can see actual work in the space. It takes a little strategy, but I can now make virtual renderings of artworks to scale so you can see a show hung in full before the shipping crate even arrives. I’m hoping to test this out for the fall show, Ying Li: No Middle Way. Plus, calculating center lines is a breeze, as is figuring out ideal proportions when arranging both work and wall labels. To the back left and front center of the screen cap are pieces by Ying Li, who’s doing a show at the CFG in the fall, and to the far right is one of my favorite pieces of artwork, Chris Jordan’s Can Seurat.

During the year, I’m planning on making our vitrines, but since the first show is probably entirely wall mounted pieces, I’m delaying that a bit.

Honestly, this model is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever made, and that includes my papier mache space helmet from third grade. Hopefully unlike my elementary school crafting endeavor, this project will be useful for more than just pretending to be the first woman on Mars.

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